Friday, June 25, 2010

Leonard Peltier Statement for 2010 USSF

June 22, 2010

Welcome to the traditional lands of my people,
the Anishinabe. Greetings, my brothers and
sisters. Greetings also to my relations from the
many different Indigenous Nations who now call
this place “Home.” Thank you for your warm welcome.

Hello to all the people of conscience in
attendance at the US Social Forum. Thank you for
taking the time and expense to attend an event
that people will talk about for years to come. I
know if you focus and believe, this event can be
a major step in the development of a new
society—one that turns away from fossil fuels,
war and the rampant destruction of our universal
home and, instead, focuses on the betterment of
all... as opposed to the enrichment of a select few.

I ask that you work this week, in particular,
toward full recognition of the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples as an essential component of a
just and honorable U.S. human rights policy. As
many of you may know, the UN Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples was developed over
many years with the participation of thousands of
Indigenous Peoples. It is consistent with human
rights principles as contained in international
law, as well as the U.S. Constitution. And, yet,
two nations with the largest Indigenous
populations—Canada and the United States—have
failed to endorse the Declaration. We call upon
the United States government to finally endorse
the Declaration in its entirety—without
qualifications or exceptions—and to work in full
partnership with Indigenous Peoples, Tribal
governments and Nations to ensure its implementation.

I am Leonard Peltier, an American Indian
political prisoner who fought against some of the
same ideas and mechanisms many of you are
fighting against today. Perhaps it was in a
different way and a different time, but many
years ago we were warning against the very
realities many of you face today. The energy
companies were raping Indian Country years
ago—long before the oil spills, the mining
disasters, and the poisoned waters America has
come to know so well. So perhaps you can spare a
few minutes to listen to the admonitions of an
old man, an old warrior whose wisdom has come at a very high price.

I encourage you to find unity in your various
causes, because all of your struggles are linked.
Actually, you don’t just find unity, you create
it—each of you individually. Create unity within
your specific organizations. And between them.
Link your efforts and find ways to network and maximize those efforts.

Making change has never been more important. Make
the most of every second, for time is growing
short, as so many prophecies have foretold.
Educate others about the realities you are
struggling for and against. Especially focus on
educating the young people who will further your
efforts tomorrow. Know that your sensibilities
are a gift from Creator intended to wake up and
shake up the world so that we may improve how we
treat the Earth and each other.

We Indian people like to say “we are all
related”. I pass that truth on to you now. Each
and every one of you and the work you are doing
are related. Let that be your greeting between
groups and persons, as well as an ethic—the very
spirit of what gatherings like this are intended
to be. Practice thinking and saying it until it
is automatic. We are all related, so put aside
whatever differences you may have and make
solidarity a new and constant reality. Remember,
this is not your struggle. It is for everyone.

I thank you for taking the time to remember an
old activist and perhaps learn from the
experiences of another people from another time.

Now go out and change the world! Make it a place
you’ll be proud to hand to the next seven generations!


In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier

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